Bike-Sharing in New York: Could It Happen Here?

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A bike-share station in Lyon, France

It was a vacation in Paris a couple of months ago that gave David Haskell, executive director of the Forum for Urban Design, the idea. Haskell was so impressed by the preparations the French capital is making for its massive municipal bike-sharing program that he decided he had to get New Yorkers interested in the possibility of launching such a project here.

"It seemed like the perfect moment for it," says Haskell, who says he got an enthusiastic response from sponsors like Clear Channel, which might bid on a bike-sharing program in New York given the chance, and from city officials.

A scant few weeks later, Haskell and his team have put together the New York Bike-Share Project, an impressive lineup of events scheduled to take place at the Storefront for Art and Architecture at 87 Kenmare St. from July 7-11. The project encompasses an exhibit on bike-sharing programs as they exist in European cities such as Barcelona and Lyon, including a full-scale bike station; presentations from companies that run such programs; a design charette; and an on-site experiment, in the form of free bike rentals. (For a more detailed schedule, look here.) There will be multiple opportunities for public input and comment, all of which will be consolidated and presented on the project's website.

Haskell acknowledges that certain problems, such as liability issues, would have to be solved before bike-sharing in New York could become a reality. But he points out that European cities have already addressed the theft and vandalism concerns that New Yorkers might anticipate.

"We're focusing on real examples of these programs working," says Haskell. "This is not some urban designer's fantasy."

Streetsblog will definitely be attending some of the events, but we'd love to hear from others who make it down there as well.

Photo: pug freak via Flickr